Pochettino thanks players and fans
Published 22/01/2013 | 06:21
New Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino praised his players and the club's supporters after his first game in charge of the club ended in a goalless draw with Everton.
Pochettino replaced Nigel Adkins as boss last week in a move that angered a large majority of Saints fans. But, despite rumoured protests aimed at chairman Nicola Cortese, the supporters gave the former Espanyol manager a warm reception and his team lit up St Mary's as they outplayed the Toffees for large periods of the game.
The result moved Southampton four points clear of the relegation zone and Pochettino was quick to thank everyone involved at the club for the impressive start to his career on the south coast. "They have shown me a great reception," he said.
"(It was a) great effort in a complex situation, and taking into account we've only had three days to prepare, I think we've done very well. I just want to say thank you to the players for their efforts, and to the fans for making that effort to be here, and for all the kindness they've shown to the team."
The Argentinian said he could not let the shadow of Adkins' sacking linger and did not mind hearing the home fans cheer for their former boss during the 90 minutes.
"I've been offered a job, an opportunity, and I've taken it," he said. "I'm happy how the fans have greeted me, and how the players have greeted me, and I just want to focus on my work. That's what I'm here to do.
"I have the maximum respect for the previous manager. It's never nice to take over from another manager who's been let go, but that's just how it's been. That's freedom of speech. It's normal that they think that after a couple of seasons of him being in charge.
"I credit the previous manager for the work he did here but now I really want to focus on my tenure here and the future of the club here under me, and the goals we've set out to achieve."
Despite seeing his side forced into their own half for almost the entire opening 45 minutes, Everton boss David Moyes believes leaving St Mary's with a draw was a missed opportunity to move within one point of the top four.
"We've got to use every game as an opportunity to try and stay in there," he said. "We've got ourselves in a good position, but I don't know if that's bad a result: coming to Southampton and drawing. They're in really good form."